The Nice goalkeeper will face the Blues this Sunday (8:45 p.m.) as part of the League of Nations.
"I can't wait to find them": as soon as he arrived in Nice, Kasper Schmeichel, the Danish goalkeeper had pointed out the opposition to come with the France team, that of Sunday, and especially that of the first round of the World Cup in Qatar.
Kasper Schmeichel had just signed for Nice from Leicester, where he won everything in England in eleven seasons, that he had to answer questions about the Denmark-France.
"Over the past 30 years, 80% of the time France and Denmark have found themselves in the same group, during the main tournaments," he smiled. “We often played them. They are world champions, one of the best teams in the world. It will be a wonderful challenge. I can't wait to see them again."
This season, episode N.1 takes place in the League of Nations. Schmeichel will not neglect this game. Especially since his start to the season is not brilliant. Arrived in Nice to bring his experience, he very quickly went beyond his area of expertise, without being irreproachable on the ground. It didn't please everyone.
Originally, the OGCN had thought of the Marseillais Steve Mandanda, who had gone to Rennes. Then, Lucien Favre wanted the Swiss Yann Sommer, whom Mönchengladbach convinced to stay. It was ultimately Schmeichel, whose entourage had direct access to the billionaire owner of Nice, Jim Ratcliffe, who was chosen. Without taking into account Favre's desire, nor the excellent pre-season of the Polish Marcin Bulka, 22, whom the club sees as a future N.1.
Nice have offered Schmeichel, soon to be 36, an exceptional chance to bounce back from an average season in the Premier League. "It's a good thing for him," explained his father Peter, ex-legend of Manchester United, on the beIN channel. “A project like Nice will allow him to maximize the years he has left. Giving him a three-year contract shows his role in the team. Nice have a serious project, resembling Leicester: to move from the middle to the top of the table. In my opinion, it's the perfect transfer at the perfect time.
But reality always overtakes theory. Arrived in Nice with a few unwanted pounds, left on the bench the first day in Toulouse (1-1), Schmeichel was also not a starter against Cologne (1-1) on the first day of C4, nor against Angers (0-1) Sunday.
“Marcin also deserves to play,” explains Favre, who barely hides his embarrassment when the now recurring question about the hierarchy of goalkeepers is asked of him.
"There is competition everywhere, not just for the goalkeepers," he said before Belgrade-Nice. “Their relationship is very, very good. As for who will play tomorrow, we cannot say. That evening, Schmeichel had played. Bulka, affected by a virus, could not hold his place.
If he is not unanimous due to a random management of space, as against Strasbourg (1-1), Schmeichel remains good on his line. Of his nine Nice meetings, he only really sank once, like the team, against Marseille (0-3). It also presents two +clean sheets+. This neutral record contrasts with his place in the selection, where he is not questioned.
“He is a figure in the team, no one can compete with him in the post”, specifies for AFP, the sports columnist of the daily Ekstra Bladet, Poul Ferdinand who tempers however: “Leicester found that it was the moment to let him go. It is significant and, obviously, a step backwards”.
However, the one who hates being compared to his father continues the selections (85). “He is a leader,” adds Ferdinand. "He and Kjaer are the strong men of the team, on the pitch and in the locker room, bearers of the spirit, guarantors of the collective, of the feeling of unity".
Exemplary in his behavior during Eriksen's cardiac arrest at the Euro last summer, Schmeichel has long played "an important role in the popularity of the team", assures Ferdinand. Very popular and respected in the country, he “willingly assumes” his role as ambassador of the selection.